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Macbeth: A Novel by A.J. Hartley
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Macbeth: A Novel (edition 2012)

by A.J. Hartley, David Hewson

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58None202,604 (3.88)9
Member:SmithSJ01
Title:Macbeth: A Novel
Authors:A.J. Hartley
Other authors:David Hewson
Info:Thomas & Mercer (2012), Paperback, 328 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Read, 2012 Reads, Amazon Vine

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Macbeth: A Novel by A. J. Hartley

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Good read. ( )
  Harrod | Apr 30, 2013 |
This was an intriguing novelization of Shakespeare's classic tragedy. Many will recognize some of the classic scenes and lines from the original, but the authors add some of their own touches as well. As they note, Shakespeare's hands were tied as there are just some things that can't be done on the stage. Lady Macbeth is given a name (Skena) and a level of complexity that is missing from the theatrical work; several other characters are more fully fleshed out as well. There is also a series of short explanatory essays at the end that add greatly to one's understanding of the time, story and history, despite their brevity. Definitely worth checking out. ( )
  ScoutJ | Mar 31, 2013 |
I enjoyed reading this adaptation of Shakespeare's play of the same name. I liked how they developed the characters, particularly Lady Macbeth, offering more detail than a playscript could and for me keeping them as I mostly imagine them. I became weighed down with the actual fighting/battles and for me these brought my rating down to 4 stars. It was certainly a bloody novel though, their ability to describe is excellent. I'm very pleased I have read it, I wouldn't say it is an easy read but it is very well written and once into it, it becomes easier to fly through the small chapters/sections. Definitely one I'd recommend for those who already know the story and equally for those approaching Macbeth for the first time. ( )
  SmithSJ01 | Nov 4, 2012 |
This is Shakespeare's play retold as a well-written blood and thunder historical novel; it has the feel of Bernard Cornwell about it. It's great stuff, full of battles, murder and treachery, of course, but the novel format allows for much greater depth of character, Macbeth emerging as a man of stark contrasts, for much of the novel regarded as humane and too soft by Highland standards. His wife (here called Skena) emerges much more sympathetically than in the play. Duncan is here a dirty old man and his sons feckless. Banquo is a loyal, betrayed companion in arms. The real villain of the piece is the porter, Fergus, who carries out all the murders except that of Duncan himself. The three witches are much more individuals than a trio, and there is even a backstory for each of them. The novel is as historically inaccurate as the play, but this is great stuff. 5/5 ( )
1 vote john257hopper | Aug 12, 2012 |
Macbeth by Hartley and Hewson is a new interpretation of Shakespeare's play in novel form written in contemporary language. It is a tale of witches and kings, thanes and commoners, castles and compounds, love and treachery, loyalty and rebellion, reality and illusion set in Scotland in the 11th Century. Macbeth is a thane, a feudal lord who holds land and performs military service for the king. Macbeth loves Scotland and is loyal to King Duncan but is upset by the king's corrupt rule of the land. Macbeth's wife Skena believes a more just man should be king and schemes to push her husband to take over the royal position. The only legal way to do this is to await the death Duncan and hope Macbeth is selected by Council from the list of thanes to become king. Skena plots to kill Duncan in Macbeth's compound when Duncan and his son Malcolm visit on the king's normal inspection rounds of his kingdom.

Three witches play key roles in the novel, more so than in Shakespeare's play. The youngest witch, a beautiful young girl with a pattern of interconnecting salmon (symbols of the sustenance life in Scotland) tattooed on her front torso is the most articulate of the three. An older large masculine witch and a very old crone witch on crutches back up the young witch and make taunting comments to the mortal characters. The young witch makes predictions to Macbeth and his friend from childhood Banquo that Macbeth will be king. She also states that Banquo's son Fleance will be king. Duncan has other plans, wanting his own son to inherit the throne. It is not an accepted procedure in the 11th Century to have royal bloodlines, but the idea is appealing not only to Duncan but also to Banquo. It is not at all good for Macbeth because his son died tragically in childhood partly due to Duncan's actions. Macbeth just wants to be appointed king by the council. He is obsessed with the question, how can the witches be correct when the predictions seem so contradictory?

Skena's plot to kill Duncan goes awry even though it results in Macbeth becoming king. Once a deed is done and blood is spilled, the guilt cannot be undone. Macbeth and Skena must continue to try to beat the conflicting fate foretold by the witches. As with many worthy ambitions, Macbeth's desire to replace a corrupt king and his wife's ambition for him deteriorate into murder, revenge, treachery, treason, civil war, and regret. Death negates all human passion and high-mindedness. The witches cackle and taunt as they watch the folly of men played out on rocky land in a social era that severely limits the human world view.

This is an interesting novel, full of action and it is realistic in its depiction of people living in much more difficult situations than the members of our current developed societies. The themes of the book may apply more closely to countries experiencing civil war and passionate rebellion today. The story is, however, a witches' brew of implications for all current political situations and an indictment of humanity's repetitive cycles of folly based on illusion. ( )
2 vote GarySeverance | May 17, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
A. J. Hartleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hartley, A. J.Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Hewson, Davidmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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A novelized adaptation of Shakespeare's play follows Macbeth and his wife as they develop a plan to keep Scotland united but find themselves entangled in a web of murder and treachery.

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